The Internet has become inundated with odds comparison websites and pages,
with the aim of providing punters with information on multiple Australian bookmaker's
odds for Australian and international races. The concept is fairly straight
forward, every runner is listed under each race with the current fixed odds
for a range of Australian bookmakers listed side by side. Punters select the
highest odds for the horse they want to back in the race and place their bet.
Sounds easy enough? The reality however is very different. When considering
the time, effort and risks involved with using Odds Comparison websites and
the size of the benefit, which is actually zero or even worse for most punters,
their appeal diminishes significantly.
Time, effort and risk
One of the key challenges for punters who choose to use an Odds Comparison
website to achieve the best odds in a race is the actual work involved. With
over 30 bookmakers in Australia, and Odds Comparison sites displaying fixed odds
for about 16 of them on average, punters need to go through several steps to
simply set themselves up for an opportunity to benefit from the information. The
initial steps involve:
- Opening a betting account with each bookmaker listed on the Odds Comparison
- Verifying each betting account with each bookmaker.
- Keeping a balance in each betting account that is sufficient to absorb the
punter's betting activity over a reasonable time frame.
On race day the punter needs to log in to each betting account so that they
are ready to take immediate advantage of the prices that are being offered by a particular
bookmaker and keep a note of the betting balance for each account to ensure
that they have sufficient funds to bet with the next time they attempt to use that account.
Drilling down further into the process required to benefit from comparison
tools, you begin to realise some of the pitfalls.
Pitfall #1 - Significantly increases the size of your kitty
Punters never know which bookmaker will have the best fixed odds at any one
time therefore, in order to ensure they are ready to get the best odds, they
need to fund each of the betting accounts on the Odds Comparison screen. Let's
say a punter usually bets with a $500 betting kitty, they should fund each of
the betting accounts with that kitty amount. For an Odds Comparison website
with 16 bookmakers, the punter is funding the account with 16 x $500 = $8,000.
Now if you think that sounds a bit overdone then consider the case where the
same punter only funds each account with say $100, that's $1,600 across the
16 betting accounts. You place a few $50 bets that happen to be with the same
bookmaker as they had the best fixed odds for both races. They both lose so
now that account has a nil balance. The next race has the same bookie with the
best price but you are out of cash in that betting account so you are forced to take the next best price with another bookie where you have funds
in your account. Consequently, you do not get the best fixed odds for that horse
at that point in time. Alternatively, you have to do more work
to top up various betting accounts throughout race day.
Pitfall #2 - Increases the risk of missing your bet
This scenario can also pan out worse. If your Odds Comparison tool has about
16 bookmakers, you are invariably going to forget the balance of each betting
account. Keeping abreast of your money and where it resides, is a job in itself.
Consider the instance where you are close to the race start time, you decide
on your bet and price and take fixed odds with one of the bookies on the Odds
Comparison website only to find out that your account is out of funds. You go
back to the comparison page, identify the next best price, click it, go to place
your bet and they've jumped.
Pitfall #3 - Time and effort
Maintaining 16 betting accounts simultaneously is hard work. For starters,
you would need to have 16 screens open at the one time on your phone or computer,
in addition to the Odds Comparison screen. That many screens opened at once
is guaranteed to slow down even the most modern computer and phone. In addition
to the challenges on race day, you initially have to open the accounts, verify
them and receive the countless communications from each of the 16 bookmakers.
Is there a benefit? If so, how big is it?
There is no doubt that there is a benefit associated with having a vast number
of Australian bookmaker's odds all lined up against each other for every race.
The question is, however, who does that benefit actually serve? For the majority
of punters who use traditional approaches to arrive at their bets, the size
of the benefit is questionable. When you consider that the market for Saturday's
races opens on Thursday and that betting odds undergo significant fluctuations
before the barriers open, the actual 'best price' for a horse in a particular
race may have come and gone a long time before you arrived at the Odds Comparison
Website. After all, comparison sites can only display fixed odds prices at a
particular point in time.
With the advent of new betting types from Australian bookmakers, the majority
of punters, in most circumstances, are better off taking advantage of the
best betting odds products offered by Australian bookmakers. Considering
products like Best of the Best (BOB) offered by the likes Ladbrokes
most punters will actually be better off as they profit from the many cases
where the horse's odds that they wish to back, comes in closer to the start
of the race or blows out after they have taken the best fixed odds at a point
in time. If the punter is convinced there is still a benefit from all this work,
then they need to understand the size of the benefit.